The formation of the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) is a very positive step. This model, which has already worked very well in Mumbai’s MMRDA, has so far not been able to see implementation in Pune despite being tabled several times. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is rightfully determined to see it through and make sure that it can meet its intended objectives. His intervention is indeed very timely.
Boost To Infrastructure Projects
Among many other things, key infrastructure projects such as the Metro rail and the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) must be fast-tracked so as to aid to overall development of the city, and the PMRDA will focus on achieving this. PMRDA will act as a unified platform for planning and execution of these and other important projects, and will serve to resolve disagreements between various planning authorities. In short, the process of project implementation will be rendered faster and less cumbersome. PMRDA will ensuring that the related planning departments are adequately staffed and funded, and it will also play a major role in addressing the issue of illegal constructions in the emerging areas of Pune district.
Revitalizing Pune’s Regional Plan
One of its first and foremost functions will in fact be to update Pune’s Regional Plan and to make sure that this plan addresses the current problems being faced in Pune’s emerging areas. PMRDA will have jurisdiction of close to 3000 square kilometres, which will include PMC and PCMC and various gram panchayats.
The implementation of PMRDA will, in fact, mark the end of the Pimpri-Chinchwad New Township Development Authority (PCNTDA). To date, the PCNTDA has done an exemplary job in creating a highly organized development environment in Pradhikaran; however, the benefits of its efforts were limited to the area of its jurisdiction. The PMRDA aims to bring the same results over a much larger operational domain.
It is, however, a matter of concern that the Pune, Khadki and Dehu cantonment boards have been taken out of its ambit as per a recent declaration. I am not certain how the PMRDA will be able to operate to its best potential and work towards a well-rounded development plan for the city without including these key cantonment areas, as well.
The Ahmedabad Model
PMRDA intends to use land banking and transfer as a source of revenue generation, effectively creating its own projects and fully enabling land parcels with support infrastructure before selling these for commercial use. Thanks to be infrastructure, the value of these land parcels rises significantly, to the tune of 25-30% This is an excellent model has already been very successfully used in Ahmedabad.
This is a near-perfect model for development in the Indian context, since it brings with it a high level of transparency and governance into every aspects of urban and rural planning. It results in win-win situation for every stakeholder involved in the urban development process, including land owners, real estate developers, real estate end-users and, of course, the Government.